To all our readers, we have an announcement to make.  The editors Allston Mitchell and Gillian McBride will be moving on after ten years running The Global Dispatches.  It has been a great pleasure and we hope you have enjoyed the magazine as it has developed over time.  As a farewell from us we are re-posting some of our favourite articles.  We are passing the reins on to the new Editor, Giulio Franzinetti.  We wish him the best of luck and many thanks from us to everyone that has helped us along the way.

Restoring the Mosaics of San Vitale
By Livia Alberti

The VI century Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna is a unique example of Byzantine art and culture. In recent times an important conservation project has restored the basilica’s mosaic wall decorations to their full glory. Livia Alberti was one of the leaders of the restoration team.

Tree of the Wooden Clogs
By Robert Arnold

Robert Arnold looks back at Italian director Ermanno Olmi's masterpiece "The Tree of Wooden Clogs" (L'Albero degli Zoccoli), winner of 14 awards including the Palme d'Or for Best film at Cannes in 1978 and the César Award in the same year for Best Foreign Film.

The World’s Best Travel Book
By Allston Mitchell

"The Way of the World" is a 1950s travelogue of a trip that Nicolas Bouvier and Thierry Vernet took from Geneva to the Khyber Pass in their faithful FIAT Topolino. Bouvier’s account is now famous amongst travel literature lovers and is generally considered to be the best travel book ever written.

Rituals of the Russian Banya
By Vlad Chorazy

Steam baths are well-known in many European countries, but maybe only in Russia is the steam-bathing “banya” tradition such a subject of national pride and an attribute of Russianness, and rightly so.

Putin’s Patriarch
By Astrit Dakli

The Orthodox Church is filling a political void left by the collapse of the party system in Russia. Kirill I, the Patriarch of Moscow, is forging stronger links with the Kremlin, attacking what he ominously describes as "anti-Russian" behaviour, including homosexual propaganda, the all-female pop group "Pussy Riot" and even more bizarrely the works of Lenin.

Travels Through Rural China
By Olga Iazzarelli

Returning to China after several years absence, Olga Jazzarelli describes the dramatic changes in China's social, cultural and physical landscapes as she tours the Shanxi and Sichuan provinces.

Mud Brick Architecture of Yemen
By Howard Meadowcroft

Yemen has a unique architectural heritage. The master builders and craftsmen have learnt how to build to suit geography, location, the climate and available materials.

The Reactionary Mind
By Corey Robin

Corey Robin's new book "The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin" traces the history of conservatism from a "counter-revolutionary" force during the French Revolution up until the current disarray in the American Republican party.

Flash Fiction
By Mitra Hooshiar

With the advent of internet, short fiction has come into its own - encapsulating as it does two essential prerequisites for Web success: brevity and entertainment. TGD publishes six of Iranian-born Mitra Hooshiar’s micro-stories. The art form itself is nothing new: Aesop’s Fables for example date from the time of Ancient Greece - perhaps even earlier.

Letters from Hanoi
By Beverly Blankenship

When the festivities for the 1000 Year Founding of Hanoi were being planned, the Goethe Institute commissioned a new Music Theatre piece for the occasion, to be performed in the Vietnamese capital’s Opera House. Director Beverly Blankenship spent three months in Hanoi preparing and staging the ambitious new piece based on the myth of Parzival. These are her letters home.

Le Trio Joubran
By Allston Mitchell

Three brothers from Palestine, all playing the "oud", make up Le Trio Joubran. Wissam Joubran talks to The Global Dispatches about their recent film soundtrack, their work with the legendary poet Mahmoud Darwish and the plight of the Palestinian people.

Interview with David Hirst
By Allston Mitchell

The veteran Middle East journalist talks to The Global Dispatches about his new book "Beware of Small States". A history of Lebanon and the Middle East, from the end of Ottoman rule to the Hizbullah and Hamas wars of today.

Withnail & I – 25 Years On
By Feidhlim de Frein

It’s one of the most-loved of all British films. It’s almost certainly the most-quoted one. And its popularity has never been greater. So why have so many people never heard of it?

Iconography of the Annunciation
By Raffaela Fazio Smith

The history of the Annunciation and its iconography in Early Christian Art

Travels with Ibn Battutah
By Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Yemen-based writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith talks to TGD about Landfalls, the third and final volume of a trilogy describing his journeys round the world in the footsteps of the inveterate 14th century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battutah.

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